On June 29th, Premier Jason Kenney announced a $10 billion investment into infrastructure, looking to create 50,000 new jobs, mostly within construction.
Kenney also announced a ‘Job Creation Tax Cut’, where the government is stated to be ‘doubling down on its commitment to reduce red tape by ensuring government processes and regulations in the province do not constrain growth’. The tax cut aims to reduce corporate tax from 12% to 8%; a $4.7 billion cut. Kenney had promised the cut when he was being elected, and it would allow Alberta to have the lowest corporate tax in all of Canada.
According to the government it is “taking unprecedented actions to create immediate jobs in ways that build communities for a bigger, brighter future and support long-term private sector job creation. Workers will be getting back on the job of building facilities, repairing roads and preparing Alberta to be stronger than ever”. The government plans to do this through strategic planning and projects, such as “the twinning of highways, projects that support growth in the agricultural sector, gas line extensions for northern residents, treatment facilities for Albertans recovering from addictions, and other important projects”.
However, the NDP states that “the UCP’s plan also claims to invest in economic diversification. However, cuts to post-secondary, Alberta Innovates, renewable energy, energy efficiency, film, tourism, and tax credits for tech and digital media, are still in place”.
“Yeah, investing in infrastructure can be an effective shock absorbers; that is absolutely true. Our government made similar choices when faced with the devastating economic downturn. Much of what was announced today comes nowhere close to replacing the cut to diversification that this government has made over the last year,” stated NDP Leader Rachel Notley in a press conference yesterday, “this is a classic Jason Kenney bait and switch. For instance the Premier identified the need for highly skilled tech workforce, and yet he’s gutting our post secondary institutions— the very institutions that would give unemployed Albertans to be part of that highly skilled work.”
The government states it is ‘also announcing its commitment to diversification through a re-capitalization of the Alberta Enterprise Corporation (AEC). Government is investing $175 million over the next three years in capital funds that support the technology sector in Alberta’.
It’s stated by Notley that artificial intelligence funding had been slashed by ‘two-thirds’, alongside television.
“[The government] canceled the renewable electricity program, which means we will lose out on over $5 billion in investment and 3600 jobs. The cancellation of energy efficiency Alberta means that Jason Kenney turned his back on almost a billion dollars in economic growth annually and 4300 jobs,” stated Notley.
The government states that it will be creating a new investment agency to help with economic growth, under The Invest Alberta corporation. It is aimed to improve the primary sectors of Alberta’s economy; energy, agriculture, and tourism.
NDP Leader Rachel Notley reiterated that tourism supports had been cut by 15% ‘in comparison to what was in place before’. Earlier this year, the UCP Government left about 20 provincial parks— a main aspect of tourism in Alberta— to be partially or completely closed. The NDP also commented on the closing of the parks, calling it ‘a way of paying for corporate handouts‘. The closing of the parks would save the government $5 million; The Invest Alberta corporation has costed the Alberta Government $6 million for three years of operation.
The government will also be looking outward with the Temporary Foriegn Worker Program, alongside ‘the Fairness for Newcomers Action Plan to put new Albertans who are already here to work faster in jobs that reward their skills and training’. Both are set to welcome new workers into the Albertan jobs.
The education and healthcare sectors have also remained at the same funding level even though costs have increased. In spite of the Innovation Employment Grant’s existence,— a grant that is promised to target ‘smaller companies and encouraging technology and investment in Alberta’,— the NDP states that the grant is still a cut, as it only gives 50% in comparison to a similar program brought in by the NDP’s government.
“He says the fiscal reckoning is still coming for Albertans and tough choices are ahead. You see what that looks like already. Another way of talking about it is; children with autism will shoulder the cost of the fiscal reckoning. [Their] classmates and all kids in classrooms will shoulder the cost of the fiscal reckoning. Post-secondary students struggling with historic levels of unemployment will shoulder the costs of the fiscal reckoning. Seniors struggling to cover the cost of their medications— now cut by the UCP— will shoulder the cost of fiscal reckoning.”
The full press conference is available here;
-Ridley Reiser, Trending 55 Newsroom